Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God....
Exodus 202:8-10 (NKJV)
I have a very good friend who happens to be Jewish who, just short of lighting her candles for Shabbos found herself hot under the collar about some offense to a friend. My immediate response to her was “ooooh, shalom, sweet girl, peace. Let your heart not be troubled. Leave it to Him. Gut Shabbos, love.” She couldn’t let it go, though, and then peace came to me in these words…” Surrender to Sabbath; leave foolishness to fools.”
I’ve learned a good deal since embracing a surrender to Sabbath. Most of it is not about what I do, or choose not to do. My learning is larger. It’s about changing my mindset. In surrendering to Sabbath, I am drawing away, drawing nigh, leaving behind.
I do not light candles and separate entirely from my daily routine. I do however engage in deliberate restfulness, intentionally honoring sacred and traditional obligations to marriage and my family. To a greater extent than in the week, I seek feedback about what to cook, how we’ll spend the day, making plans for the week to ensure more peace, less chaos. My emerging Sabbath practice is not intended to constrain but rather to free my observation of it from the rigors of the mundane. Sabbath is an exercise in gratitude, an active practice of worship through rest. I am free to be alone with my thoughts, released from habits and schedules that dominate my week. I am free to spend time with those I love, free to study, released to worship. I take permission to seek His Face, leaving foolishness aside.
So, having wound down my week, I offer the traditional blessings to welcome the Sabbath. See you next week.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the Holy Shabbat.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath hallowed us by Thy commandments and hast taken pleasure in us, and in love and favor hast given us Thy holy Sabbath as an inheritance, a memorial of the creation--that day being also the first day of the holy convocations, in remembrance of the departure from Egypt. For Thou hast chosen us and hallowed us above all nations, and in love and favor hast given us Thy holy Sabbath as an inheritance. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who hallowest the Sabbath.